Let’s call her Cathy.
She gave her life to Jesus through our street witnessing team that shares Christ down at the beach on Saturday evenings. The next day she came and met me after the morning service and told me what had happened the night before. We prayed and celebrated her decision. With her daughter in hand and a brand new life ahead of her, she agreed to come out and be baptized later that same afternoon. It was a great day!
She hasn’t missed a Sunday or Wednesday night service since. Hungry for God’s word and desiring to grow in her new found faith, Cathy has come up for prayer and to update me on how she is doing. Her smile betrays the peace she is experiencing even though she has no friends or family in our area and is currently out of work and homeless. You would never suspect it.
This last week after service, Cathy came up to me and said “I really feel God’s presence and power when I’m here at church but I don’t feel it so strong when I am not.” Then she simply added “But I want to.”
That is not something that only Cathy experiences. It is in fact a universal experience of Christians everywhere. Why is this? Can anything be done to enjoy God’s presence all the time instead of just at church?
Jude writes this: “But build yourselves up on your most holy faith.” (Jude 20).
Faith, like a muscle can and must be exercised to grow. Most of us are old enough to know this when it comes to our physique: it’s “Use it or lose it brother!” This is also true of our faith. If you wish to grow in faith rather than waiting for church to start, you must exercise your faith while you are NOT at church!
On one occasion early in his spiritual development, David was strengthened in his faith by Jonathan, his brother-in-law. However, there came a time when Jonathan wasn’t around and David was in deep trouble. We read “But David encouraged himself in God.” (1 Samuel 30:6). You have to learn to do the same.
How do we do that?
Solomon wrote “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out.” (Prov 26:20) Now, he was speaking of gossip and the strife it produces. However, the principle is also true of our faith in God. Paul writes “He who sows to the flesh will reap from the flesh corruption. He who sows to the Spirit will reap from the Spirit, eternal life” (Gal 6:8) There are things that fuel our spiritual life. We must know what they are and how to keep those things in ready supply.
Read God’s Word and Pray every day!
These two spiritual disciplines are each modeled in the life of Jesus Christ. They enabled Him to live in constant intimacy with His Father and also in victory over the enemy. As I pray, I release my burdens and fears to the Lord. As I read and believe my Bible, the fires of my faith are stoked because “Faith comes by hearing the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
“Is not my Word as a fire, saith the Lord?” (Jer. 23:29)
Martin Luther once commented “If I should neglect prayer for even one day I would lose a great deal of the fire of my faith”
Daily Bible reading and prayer are God’s ways to privately ignite our faith and excite our passion for Christ. Remember, all you need is to come close enough to the fire. When that happens, you will catch!